29 June 2011

A short life and a merry one

In about 1970 they ‘upgraded’ the state pension system; the real motive for this being that they wanted an excuse to get in more money for the government to spend as it pleased. To justify the increased taxation involved, it was necessary to talk as if a person’s contributions were paying for a certain level of pension, in a way that was comparable to previous commercial schemes.

Actually of course this idea lapsed into oblivion over the decades, and the idea of a pension metamorphosed into that of a ‘contract between generations’, with present taxpayers paying for the support of old and infirm former taxpayers, in the hope that doing so would gain them similar consideration from future taxpayers.

As a result, it becomes possible to complain about how many pensioners there are in relation to present taxpayers, and how much each taxpayer is having to contribute. And once again, providing for pensioners can be used to justify an increase in taxation, more money rolling in for the government to spend on its favourite things, which are all oppressive (teachers, doctors, psychiatrists and counsellors, social workers, lawyers, policemen). Several of these sectors of the population are, I feel sure, increasing in size and expensiveness far faster than the population of pensioners. So, of course, is the population of immigrants, who are having a ‘baby boom’ of their own.

After a good deal of hullabaloo a ‘committee of enquiry’ concludes that pensioners must continue to pay for ‘care’ which they receive (or to which they are forced to submit) from the state. At least they must pay up to a certain amount, so long as they have any assets left, after which the state will pick up the tab. But even this limited liability on the part of the state is a grievous burden, and so we are still left with an excuse for creating a new tax in some shape or form.

Middle class pensioners should pay between £35,000 and £50,000 for their old age care, a review will recommend this week. ... At present, anyone with savings or assets above £23,250 - including property - has to pay for their care in full, forcing thousands to sell their homes. The review will raise that threshold so that more people with modest savings benefit, at a cost to taxpayers of around £3billion a year. But the middle classes will have to pay more. Mr Dilnot will recommend they pay between £35,000 and £50,000. ...

Organisations including Age UK, the British Heart Foundation and the Alzheimer's Society yesterday wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to accept the Dilnot proposals. They said: ‘The social care system has been in growing crisis for years. Our organisations deal every day with people at the most vulnerable points in their lives who are either not receiving any social care support or a small level of help that is grossly inadequate to their needs.’

‘We call upon the Government to take this opportunity offered by the Dilnot Commission and produce a White Paper in the autumn detailing how it will create a sustainable and fair social care system, including how it will be funded.’

Chancellor George Osborne is resisting the plans because he believes they are too close to the ‘death tax’ proposed by Labour before last year's general election, under which everyone would have paid £20,000 into a compulsory insurance scheme whether they eventually need care or not. But Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Lib Dem care minister Paul Burstow are both supportive. (Daily Mail, 27 June 2011)

It is said that people do not like thinking about the future (especially, probably, those with below-average IQs) and so do not save enough to provide for themselves when they are no longer earning money. Therefore they must be forced to do so, by having their money taken away by the government, and so must those who do think about their futures.

Perhaps most people do not want to think about what lies ahead, and intend, consciously or subconsciously, to end their lives semi-accidentally if things become difficult. Why not leave them to get on with it? If they have not provided for themselves, perhaps they have (consciously or otherwise) opted for ‘a short life and a merry one’, as one of my former dentists said of a colleague who had a liking for real ale and died soon after his retirement.

Why not leave them to it? How is it better for them to end their lives under medical supervision in a ‘care home’ prison, with complete loss of autonomy?

Why should you want those such as myself who do try to build up capital, to improve their future lives, to be made responsible for supporting those who have not been interested enough to support themselves – by confiscation of capital by the government? The population of savers is likely to have above-average IQs; in fact it may well include a significant proportion of people with exceptionally high IQs, who realise that they have no other chance of making their position less intolerable in a society that is motivated by hostility to people like them.

And that, of course, is the answer to why they should be penalised by confiscation, in theory because they are causing an intolerable strain on the government’s resources; in reality because the government ‘needs’ to continue expanding its spending at a rate of knots on less threatening populations which will never have any independence of thought or action.

It is disgraceful that organisations such as Age UK, Age Concern and Saga actively support the raising of the pension age and the Dilnot proposals. ‘The social care system has been in crisis for years’. Of course it has, and the only solution is to abolish ‘social care’ altogether.

And there is no solution for the country as a whole but to abandon the concept of ‘state benefits’ altogether. There is no ‘benefit’ without reduction of liberty, and the concept of the state as the ultimate provider can lead only to the destruction and bankruptcy of the society that adopts it.